When little Charlie Paxton aged only six passes away with a mysterious form of cancer, his father, Charles, swears to have his revenge. The water and the air in the Fisher Valley was pristine before the coal seam gas companies arrived with government endorsed gas exploration and development licences. Then they marched roughshod over the owners of privately owned highly productive farming and grazing land, paying them little in the way of compensation.
After drilling they pumped water, sand and toxic chemicals at high pressure hundreds of metres into the ground in a process known as fracking that exploded the coal seams, releasing the methane while giving scant attention to the ground, air and water pollution they were creating. Charles Paxton is determined to stop the gas companies even if it means blowing up their wells and blocking their access to agricultural properties.
But big gas is powerful and backed by rapacious governments who won’t hesitate to use their police and army to smash through blockades. Can an unlikely alliance of farmers, greens and conservatives stand against the might of big gas and the governments complicit in helping it?
Available in all good bookstores
Highly commended in the 2012 Fellowship of Australian Writers Barbara Ramsden Award.
I moved to the country for peace and quiet and little did I know that I would become embroiled in the battle of my life. Peter Ralph brings to light the everyday struggle of people who find their lives suddenly caught up with one of the most insidious industries in the world – Coal Seam Gas.Dayne Pratzky aka The Frackman
Peter Ralph has sensitively and dramatically portrayed the heavy price that will be paid by rural Australia if this industry goes ahead as planned. His story brings home to us the need for all Australians to see themselves as custodians of this beautiful land.Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate